Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 14, 2013

Yemen: Spokesman denies rumors that al Asiri was wounded in strike; security officials report AQAP plot in Ma’rib; military to withdraw from the port of Mocha; Iran accuses Yemeni government of kidnapping diplomat

Horn of Africa: MSF withdraws staff from Somalia; James P. McAnulty takes office; Somali gangs arrested in Nairobi; soldiers shoot protestors in Hodan, Mogadishu; grenade attack in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle; soldier killed in Bakara market, Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Reports indicated that a drone strike in Lahij on August 10 wounded al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) master bomb-maker Ibrahim al Asiri. However, Yemen’s spokesman in Washington denied those rumors. U.S. officials would not comment on whether al Asiri was wounded or if he was even the target of the attack.[1]
  • Security officials in Ma’rib reported heavy AQAP movement in the governorate, especially near the Shabwah and Sana’a borders. The official stated that they had uncovered information about a plan to destroy the ruins of the Queen of Sheba historical site in Ma’rib.[2]
  • The governor of Taiz and the Minister of Defense Mohammad Nasser Ahmed reached an agreement at the end of Ramadan to withdraw all military forces from the port of Mocha. The Coast Guard will assume responsibility for security of the port.[3]
  • The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister of Arab and African Affairs directly accused the Yemeni government of involvement in the July 21 kidnapping of Iranian diplomat Nour Ahmad Nikbakht, saying that the government was aware beforehand of the time and method of Nikhbat’s kidnapping. The Yemeni Foreign Ministry denied these claims.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Doctors Without Borders announced on August 14 its closure of all clinics in Somalia due to increasing attacks on its staff. MSF’s international president said that many of the attacks occurred with the support or approval of local civilian leaders. Doctors Without Borders has operated in Somalia for 22 years.[5]
  • James P. McAnulty assumed his responsibilities as U.S. Special Representative for Somalia on August 14.[6]
  • The criminal investigator for Starehe, Nairobi announced the arrest of more than 500 members of two Somali gangs in Eastleigh, nicknamed “Little Mogadishu.”[7]   
  • Government soldiers killed two and wounded four people demonstrating against their homes being bulldozed in Hodan, Mogadishu on August 14.[8]
  • Men armed with grenades attacked government troops in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region on August 14. Casualty figures are unknown and no one claimed responsibility.[9]
  • Militants killed a government soldier in Bakara Market in Mogadishu on August 13. Government forces arrived quickly, but the gunmen escaped.[10]     


[1] “Yemeni Official Denies Report That U.S. Drones Wounded AQAP’s Master Bomb Maker,” Long War Journal, August  13, 2013. Available: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2013/08/yemeni_official_denies_report.php
[2] “Movements Suspected to be By Terrorist Elements in Ma’rib and a Plan to Destroy the Ruins of the Queen of Sheba,” Wefaq Press, August 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://wefaqpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=7295  
[3] “Evacuation of Military Forces From the Port of Mocha,” Barakish, August 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=23&id=54419 
[4] “Iran Attacks Yemen and Accuses the Government of Being Behind the Kidnapping of the Iranian Diplomat in Sana’a,” Yemen Press, August 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.yemen-press.com/news21661.html
“Yemeni Government Denies Knowing the Place of the Kidnapping of the Iranian Diplomat,” Al Rai Media, August 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.alraimedia.com/Alrai/Article.aspx?id=456893&date=13082013  
[5] “Doctors Without Borders Pulls Out of Somalia,” ABC News, August 14, 2013. Available: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/doctors-borders-pulls-somalia-19954905  
[6] “New Special Representative for Somalia, James P McAnulty Takes Office,” Dalsan Radio, August 14, 2013. Available: http://dalsanradio.com/articles/800/New-Special-Representative-for-Somalia-James-P-McAnulty-takes-office  
[7] Kenyan Dragnet Targets Eastleigh Gangs,” Sabahi Online, August 13, 2013. Available: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/doctors-borders-pulls-somalia-19954905  
[8] “Demonstration Causes Killings Occurred in Mogadishu,” Mustaqbal Radio, August 14, 2013. Available: http://www.mustaqbalradio.com/2013/08/14/demonstration-causes-killings-occurred-in-mogadishu/    
[9] “Grenade Attacks Targets Government Troops in the Middle Shabelle Region,” Shabelle, August 14, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/?p=1441  
[10] “Armed Men Kill a Government Soldier in Mogadishu,” Shabelle, August 13, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/?p=1373